Personas and Jobs-to-be-Done: a match made in heaven

I’m guessing that not everyone is going to agree with NN Group on this one, but I’m on board with their article about Personas vs. Jobs-to-Be-Done:

With the popularity of the JTBD paradigm, there are calls in some corners to abandon personas, suggesting that JTBD has emerged as a more useful technique. This point of view is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of personas as primarily demographic representations of users, missing the key behavioral considerations that are essential to good personas and that provide much needed guidance for interaction design and product strategy.

The thing is that, as I have written in Job stories are great, but personas aren’t dead, we shouldn’t confuse marketing personas with design personas, which are specifically created to guide the development of product features. Design personas are based on needs, goals, and dimensions that have a direct impact on their interaction with the product.

Good design personas are complementary to JTBD, not in conflict with it. As NN Group further explains:

Well-executed personas are based largely on rich behavioral characteristics, attitudinal data, and insights about mental models, and they require qualitative research with real users to uncover the why behind users’ behaviors. These rich personas typically will include information related to specific goals that users must achieve when they use the product; these goals are directly comparable to the information found in the jobs-to-be-done definition.

So instead of choosing between Personas and JTBD, I’d like to have both, please. I’ll use Personas to get a better understanding of the goals and needs of our target market, and I’ll use JTBD to help create the products that will meet those goals and needs.